|Photo by David Crawford|
We contacted the founder of the Floorball Guru brand, David Crawford. Hi David how are you? Floorballmaniatv is happy that you accepted our interview.
1) Meanwhile David, introduce yourself to our readers. Who are you and what do you do in life besides playing and teaching floorball?
My name is David Crawford and I created and operate Floorball Guru, LLC. I live in the U.S. specifically Washington State. I’ve been in and around sports my entire life and play just about everything. I’ve been involved in Floorball specifically for the past 6 years where I’ve been fortunate to play and coach at the national level. While I’d love it if Floorball was my main focus, I’ve spent the last 5 years working at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, WA as the Director of Recreation Services.
2) David let's talk about you Player, how do you discover floorball? Where do you start practicing it?
I found Floorball late in life. I grew up playing soccer, football, basketball, baseball, and street hockey throughout my youth. I’ve been actively playing Floorball for about 6 years now. I’ve played in a few tournaments but play mostly pick-up games in my local area. I travel when I can just to get a game in. That’s been the bigger challenge since Floorball isn’t known where I live. I’ve been fortunate to have a short stint with the USA Men’s National Team as a player and coach the USA U19 Women’s Teams.
3) You have been a player of the American national team, can you tell us your emotion?
Having the chance to represent my country has and will always be an honor and proud moment for me. To have had the opportunity to do so as a player and coach means a lot. Those are experiences I’ll carry with me the rest of my life. The WFC tournaments are so much fun. I highly recommend anyone making the journey to attend. They’re worth it for the experience and learning opportunity to see the sport played at such a high level.
4) As a Player or Manager, can you tell us about the greatest emotion and your biggest disappointment in floorball?
My highest moment was getting my first assist on the Men’s Team. We were playing the Riga Tournament in Latvia prior to the WFC there. Getting on the scoresheet and contributing is always memorable. Second only to stepping onto the court for my first game as a head coach at the 2018 U19 Women’s WFC. I guess my biggest disappointment would be not getting a win as coach in the U19 Women’s WFC. I made some mistakes in that tournament and things happen. A few things go our way and we end up winning 3 of 4 in our group. That happens. I will say that coaching that team I had the most fun coaching games I’ve ever had in any sport. Such memorable games.
|Photo by David Crawford|
5) You train guys today, but did you also found a sports team? How many guys do you have on your team?
Having brought my experiences home I’ve focused on growing the sport in the US at the youth levels. Most of my time is spent developing programs and teaching kids in my local area to play. In the US the sport isn’t well developed. It’s growing in different ways, but still very small compared to others sports here. I also promote the sport and I’m working to develop leagues and teams in my area. Adults is lacking right now, but the youth interest is growing. Depending on the time of year we’ll get about 50 kids or more in a Floorball session learning and playing. In my area we’re growing and that’s exciting to see.
6) Now let's get to the heart of your interview. What is Floorball Guru? Where did the idea come from?
When I found Floorball I was hooked. I’ve been teaching youth and developing sports programs for 15 years. I was primarily focused on soccer, but with Floorball I saw the potential. Floorball Guru was born out of my desire to share my experience learning, teaching, and playing the sport. I saw the value in the sport and wanted to bring it to others. I wanted to create something that was a little different than what was out there. Most Floorball companies are built around retail. Nothing wrong with that, I do that myself now, but at the core for me it’s about giving people the tools to learn and play Floorball. In North America we have floor hockey. A similar game so most of what we end up doing is showing the differences and why people should move to Floorball. I wanted to create a platform where I could talk about and show those differences, but also show people through my experience, successes, and failures surrounding developing this sport. It started with writing blogs on any and every topic I could think about all focused around Floorball.
7) Play material, Podcasts, Camp, Books, where does Floorball Guru want to go?
Floorball Guru started with teaching youth Floorball classes. That’s still going strong but has also evolved into weekly blogs, podcasting, video content, live streaming. In the last year we launched our own Floorball branded stick line, and I’ve also published a book “The Floorball Guru Primer”. All of this is focused around helping break down barriers or excuses for people to give this sport a try. I also started youth leagues, camps, clinics, and adult pick-up play. My goal is to see others start their own Floorball programs. If I can assist them with that, I’m happy and excited to do so. I’m passionate about this sport, and I want it to grow. I’ve seen the impacts it has on the kids in my programs and I know there’s a place for it. How I ultimately fit into that equation is to be seen, but I love teaching, helping others grow their programs and see this sport blow up around the world. If I had to nail down one thing, I’d say I’d love to travel the world engaging people in this sport to help others learn, teach, and play Floorball.
|Photo by David Crawford|
8) We recently interviewed Kennet of Floorball Chicago, what is your relationship with other American companies? Or are you limited for the moment in your area?
The Floorball community in the US is small. Everyone seems to know everyone, or at least has heard of everyone. Any time there’s a new player in the community everyone starts talking. I love that. I think we’re all genuinely excited to see new people come to the sport, and if there’s a way to support each other I feel like that’s done. We all have different challenges and approaches to the same problem, and I don’t think there’s a wrong way. Given that we’re spread out across the country it’s a challenge to stay connected. I wish we didn’t have to travel to connect the sport. I’d prefer to see local tournaments and leagues be the focal point and grow, but that’s where we’re at right now.
9) Floorball Guru, what is your relationship with the American national team? Are you going to make official reports? Are you also part of the national team as a staff?
Currently, I don’t have any responsibilities within USA Floorball. I’ve been fortunate to be considered for various positions and very thankful to be in the conversation. I’m happy to support USA Floorbal how I can, but everything I develop online through Floorball Guru is outside the scope of USA Floorball. I’m always open to all opportunities if there’s a place for me, or a role that fits. Where I’m at right now in my life and with my goals for Floorball I think that I’m better served doing what I’m doing with my business. Despite what people many think, everyone in the USA program (coaches, players, etc) all pay their own way. There’s an effort to help cover costs with sponsorships, but that’s a process. That becomes challenging on a number of levels. At some point everyone must make a choice. For me I feel I’m doing my part in growing the sport that’s going to be most effective. I hope that helps the National team in the future.
|Photo by David Crawford|
10) David we see that in the Crawford family, floorball is an official sport, do your children play with you? In what role?
Oh yes. My two boys (5 & 8) have had a Floorball stick in their hands since they were about 1 respectively. They love to play, and like me they play everything. We play inside, outside, wherever we can. Part of the work I’m doing to build the sport, specifically in my hometown, is for them. To provide opportunities to play if they choose. My oldest has been in my instructional classes and league, and my youngest is at the age where he can participate in those too. It’s been a lot of fun for me to have those opportunities and interactions with them and watch them grow.
11) David before saying goodbye, how are you in this pandemic period? How are you experiencing it right now? When will the floorball championship resume with you? And above all how do you think it will recover?
It’s been tough on a number of fronts. I’ve been trying to figure out how to keep things going when all my programs were cancelled. It threw a huge wrench in my plans this year. As I write this, we’re still mostly quarantined. We’re starting to open some things up, but all sports are at a standstill. I’m hoping we’ll be able to open up a bit more in July to allow for youth sports, and I’ve already got summer programs ready to go. We’ll be adapting what and how we carry forward, but I feel confident we can do so safely. That’s my biggest concern. We’ll have to see if that happens and how it goes for the summer.
I would love to be able to attend more WFC throughout the years. They’re scheduled at challenging times for my day job which makes it tough to get the time off. My plans right now would be to attend as a fan of the game. If I can help with an event and bring value in education, awareness, and content development I’d love to do that. I was fortunate to be invited to the U19 Men’s tournament in Nova Scotia for just that and it was a blast. I’d love to do more of that in the future.
Time will tell regarding COVID. This isn’t going away anytime soon. While some areas of the World may recover or be impacted less, I think others may not. There’s also the mental aspect that people will need to overcome, especially when traveling/competing. The WFC event are marquee for the sport so I hope they can continue, and with fans, because that makes the whole experience.